·  Media release

Airport Security Screeners Hold First-Ever National Conference

OTTAWA - Against the backdrop of air travel safety concerns, security staffing cuts and frustrating passenger lineups, Canada's airport security screeners are holding an unprecedented national conference this week.

  • WHAT: IAM & USW Canadian Airport Screeners Conference
  • WHEN: February 4-6, 2014
  • WHERE: Ottawa Convention Centre, 55 Colonel By Drive
  • WHO: Airport security screeners from across Canada, members of the International Association of Machinists (IAM) and the United Steelworkers (USW)

Security screeners from airports across the country are in Ottawa for the first-ever Canadian Airport Screeners Conference. The three-day conference, which begins today at the Ottawa Convention Centre, will bring attention to the growing need for improved airport security, passenger service and other crucial issues in the sector.

The conference is the result of a unique collaboration by the country's two largest airport security screeners' unions - the International Association of Machinists (IAM) and the United Steelworkers (USW).

The IAM and USW represent thousands of security screeners at 55 airports across Canada, including in the country's largest cities - Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

"In recent years air travellers across the country have noticed that they're being subjected to longer lineups as they try to board their flights," said Dave Ritchie, IAM Canada General Vice-President.

"The federal Conservative government has been imposing significant cuts to security screeners, even though traffic volumes are steadily increasing and the government is collecting more and more revenue from security fees paid by passengers."

"Travellers deserve the security they're paying for. Instead, they're paying more for less, while enduring longer lineups. It's frustrating and it's a safety concern, for passengers and for security screeners alike," explained Ritchie.

"In the last few years the number of security screeners at Canadian airports has been cut by as much as 25 per cent, while passenger volumes have increased by the millions," noted Ken Neumann, USW National Director.

"Those cuts, combined with growing demands on screeners, are creating security concerns for passengers and health and safety issues for front-line workers," Neumann said.

"The Harper government has acknowledged in its own budget that 'reduced funds available for operating services will lead to a reduction in the number of screening hours' in Canada's airports," he said.

"The government is reaping higher and higher revenues by imposing security charges on all passengers, producing a growing surplus of revenues. Those fees should be used to provide better funding for airport security screening, rather than being diverted to balance the federal Conservatives' budget," added Neumann.

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For further information:

Dave Ritchie, IAM Canada General Vice-President, 416-386-1789
Ken Neumann, USW National Director, 416-544-5951
Bill Trbovich, IAM Director of Communications, 416-386-1789 Ext #6331, 416-735-9765, btrbovich@iamaw.org
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca


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